Support the Department of Coins and Medals

The British Museum houses around one million objects in one of the world’s finest numismatic collections.

Coinage, coin weights, tokens and money boxes from the 7th century BC to the present day complement a magnificent collection of commemorative medals that range from the Italian Renaissance to modern times. From the first coins made in Lydia (modern Turkey) and China, to the latest credit cards and art medals, these objects represent every continent. It is a unique collection that provides a vital insight into the social, economic, political and artistic histories of the world.

Fundraising priorities

Online collection database

The Museum’s online collection database is a unique resource that allows everyone, everywhere, to explore the collection. Some areas of the numismatic collection are already well represented, but some important gaps remain. Many existing entries are far from complete and many images still need to be added. More work is needed to make the whole collection available internationally.

Electronic library catalogue

The Museum’s numismatic library is one of the most important in the world and contains many rare works. Thanks to the generosity of an individual benefactor, a catalogue of the books on medals is now available online. However, much work needs to be done before the contents of the library are fully accessible online to researchers and the general public.

New acquisitions

Continuing growth is essential to ensure that the collection remains representative as new developments unfold. The Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme has been so successful it has led to more finds being reported than ever before. Accordingly, as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations for the Department of Coins and Medals in 2011, the Museum established the British Coin Fund to acquire new coins of British interest. The Fund provides vital capital to enhance this outstanding collection.

How you can help

The Museum aims to make its numismatic collection and library as widely available as possible, while continuing to expand this extraordinary collection. Your support will really help us to achieve our goals.

  • £20,000 will computerise our library catalogue of Roman coin books and make it available online.
  • £15,000 will allow the online creation of full records and images of the Seleucid coin collection.
  • £10,000 will ensure that full descriptions and images of the entire Italian Renaissance (‘Hill’) medals collection will be accessible online.
  • £5,000 will enable online images of the Ottoman coin collection.
  • £2,500 will update and improve database records and provide images for any one of the cabinets of coins.
  • £1,000 or more will allow the British Coin Fund to better represent the important new discoveries in the Museum’s collection.

If you wish to support us in our aims, please contact the Development Department +44 (0)20 7323 8421 or